The Devon Bryophyte Group go to Fingle Woods

Yesterday the Devon Bryophyte Group visited Fingle Woods to help the National Trust and the Woodland Trust assemble a moss and liverwort species list for the site. I joined them for the morning.

Devon Bryophyte Group
Part of the group investigating a stream

Fingle streamMosses and liverworts in these Dartmoor woodlands love damp shady places

Jubula hutchinsiaeThis is a close up of one of the rarer and specialist species we found – Jubula hutchinsiae, Hutchin’s hollywort – note the teeth at the end of blades. It likes growing under rocks in streams and it a very western species – Dartmoor is a national stronghold for this species

Racomitrium aquaticumThis is Racomitrium aquaticum – Narrow-leaved Fringe-moss – lives on top of rocks that receive a good flow of water – another very western/northern species in the UK

Pogonatum aloidesThis is Pogonatum aloides – Dwaft haircap – identified by the distinctive white flat tops to the capsules

Pogonatum urnigerumThis is Pogonatum urnigerum – the Urn haircap – found on acidic gravelly tracks

Leucobryum juniperoideumAnother classic species of upland Dartmoor oak woods – Leucobryum juniperiodeum – the Smaller White-moss

Dicranum majusAnd finally Dicranum majus – the Greater Fork moss – a characteristic species of Dartmoor oak woods

Thank you very much to the team of volunteers from the Devon Bryophyte Group – a very friendly and knowledgable group who kindly helped me with identifications and general information. Looking forward to seeing a full species list. I think it will show that Fingle Woods – despite the planting of large areas of conifer is a very good and important place for these groups of plant.

Mosses make our woodlands and walls what they are

This year I am going to brush up my mosses ID skills – ‘brush up’ makes it sound a quick process – I am starting from a pretty low base so it will be quite an effort.

It is easy to think that during the winter and early spring that there are ‘no plants to look at’ – OK there are very few flowers out but there are hundreds and hundreds of amazing looking mosses and liverworts.

Thuidium tamariscinumThis is Thuidium tamariscinum or the Common Tamarick moss – found the following three species in woodland beside the Teign on the Castle Drogo estate

Polytrichum communePolytrichum commune or Common haircap

Dicranum scopariumDicranum scoparium Broom fork moss

Grimmia pulvinataGrimmia pulvinata Grey cushioned Grimmia –  a common species on walls

As I said before – it is early days so if I have identified these incorrectly please let me know!

A wall at Buckland Abbey

I was at Buckland Abbey yesterday for a Regional meeting – during one of the breaks I had a look at this wall – smothered in vegetation – seemed to sum up the evolution of plants in one frame – from lichens to liverworts to mosses to ferns through to monocotyledon plants (e.g. grasses) and finally to dicotyledons (e.g. pennywort)

Buckland Wall 1If you get your eye in you can see all 6 phyla of plant type in these pictures

Buckland Wall 2

Buckland Wall 3